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MSU shooting: Rampage over in 8 minutes, timeline shows

Anthony McRae killed two students at Berkey Hall at Michigan State University on Feb. 13 before killing another at the MSU Union, police have said.
  • MSU police release a timeline of the Feb. 13 shooting that killed three students and injured five
  • The timeline indicates the killing lasted from 8:18 p.m. to 8:26 p.m.
  • The first alert to students went out at 8:30 p.m.

Michigan State University police released a timeline Friday showing that officers were inside Berkey Hall, the first site of a Feb. 13 mass shooting, two minutes after receiving the first 9-1-1 call.

The updated timeline also reveals that the killer, Anthony McRae, 43, had already walked to the MSU Union, killing one student, and had left campus before the first text-message alert blast was sent by campus police.


The timeline offered Friday, created as part of a “preliminary investigation,” fills in gaps since the shooting and reveals the attack lasted roughly 8 minutes, from 8:18 p.m. until 8:26 p.m. McRae killed three students and wounded five.

The timeline confirms earlier Bridge Michigan reporting that the shooting was over before the alerts to students were sent. 

The first campus alert went out at 8:30 p.m., police said, with another following at 8:31 p.m. 

By then, however, McRae was already off campus; a student’s camera footage caught him walking north on Harrison Road near West Grand River about an hour later.

What's still not clear is when MSU police first sought to send out the “Run. Hide. Fight” campus alert. 

Through a public records request, Bridge on Friday obtained a recording of an officer asking a front desk employee to “put the campus on lockdown” but the audio does not include any reference to time and an MSU police spokesperson said the department did not have that information. 

“When the officer communicated with our front desk on our private radio channel to ‘put the campus in lockdown,’ they were actively responding to a critical incident involving shots being fired and they were doing several tasks at once, including responding to the scene,” spokesperson Dana Whyte told Bridge. 

“The personnel working at the desk at the time knew to send an alert based on the intent behind the officer's message.

McRae was confronted in Lansing, over 3 miles away, about 11:45 p.m. and police said he shot himself. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Students have expressed frustration with the alerts, saying some only got emails and others questioning why it took so long to warn campus that a shooting had occurred.

Campus officials have said a “pre-scripted” alert was sent after a public safety employee sought confirmation from a supervisor before sending the alert. The alert did not indicate where the shooting occurred, only that it was “on or near the East Lansing campus.”

It was sent at 8:31 p.m. In their updated timeline, police say there were two alerts, one at 8:30 p.m. and another at 8:31 p.m.

By then, two students — Arielle  Diamond Anderson, 19, of Harper Woods, and Alexandria Verner, 20, of Clawson — were killed at Berkey Hall and others were also shot, and McRae had walked to the Union, where he fatally shot a third student, Brian Fraser, 20, of Grosse Pointe Park before leaving campus.

In the next couple of hours after the initial shooting, police said they received thousands of additional calls, with callers alerting police to potential shootings and suspicious people and vehicles all over campus. Police were dispatched to investigate each.

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